I’m far from perfect, but I’m really starting to think that forced self development is a waste of my time. I fear that the striving to be somebody better is counterproductive because it means rejecting what I am now. I’ve also noticed that the artificial self development tends to be shallow and short lived. It differs from the real self development that occurs naturally by dealing with reality – this is life changing and permanent. My biggest fear is that the forced type of self development, the stuff that comes from self help books and spiritual texts, may actually be a means to avoid the real self development that occurs when I jump headlong into life.
The Universe Knows How to Get Me into Shape
The universe is a superb teacher. Modern educators might say that this crude carrot and stick approach is a bit old fashioned and harsh, but there is no doubting its effectiveness. If you refuse to learn the lessons that life sends your way, it will turn on the pain. Life will relentlessly beat you down until you become teachable. The universe is a patient teacher, and it is prepared to wait decades for the student to pass a lesson – you can remain caught in a rut like addiction and there is no escape until you are ready to progress.
I’m convinced that the universe was designed in such a way as to encourage conscious beings to develop their potential. I don’t pretend to know the reason for this, and it can be fun to speculate. Even if I’m wrong about the universe being created to promote development it doesn’t matter because that is the way things work. In order to progress in life I need to fit in with reality. I know this for a fact because of my years of trying to go against the stream. So even if the universe is not created to be a teacher for all practical purposes it does function in this role for humans. When we fit in with reality our life becomes easier, but when we fight against it things turn to shit.
Artificial Self Development is a Waste of Time But…
I think the Buddha was a really smart guy, but the advice he gave that is most applicable in my life now were there in his last words – be a lamp unto yourself . It is important to hear what the wise teachers have to say, but I feel at the end of the day we are all on our own journey. I will still read spiritual texts and maybe even occasionally purchase the latest must-have-self-help book, but I now view this almost as a type of entertainment. Unless I become wise there is no real way for me to judge the wisdom of anyone else. My teacher is the universe, and I’m confident that any self development that needs to take place will come from the ups and downs of being alive. I’ll still meditate because this is something that I enjoy doing, but I no longer expect it to make me a better person – life will take care of that.